23-Sep-2010 10:30 AM

ACCC grants interim approval to Virgin Blue-Etihad alliance

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approved (23-Sep-2010) interim authorisation in respect of a proposed alliance between airlines Virgin Blue and Etihad. Under the alliance, Virgin Blue and Etihad have agreed to cooperate on joint pricing and scheduling of services across their networks. The alliance will also add capacity between Australia and Abu Dhabi. Interim authorisation will allow the applicants to commence preparations for the alliance and to promote it to travellers ahead of the ACCC's final decision. The ACCC is aware that consumers who book one of the new services during the period of interim authorisation are likely to be affected if final authorisation is denied. However, Virgin Blue and Etihad have put in place route protection plans to manage the travel arrangements of any affected passengers. The ACCC has sought submissions on the substantive application from interested parties, to close on 22-Sep-2010. [more]

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: “In granting interim authorisation the ACCC has taken into account the fact that Virgin Blue and Etihad currently do not operate any competing services, as well as the lead time required to market and sell tickets before the commencement of long-haul services," Graeme Samuel, Chairman. Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, 23-Sep-2010.

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